From Revolution to Routine? Patterns of German Democracy in the 20th Century

October 1, 2019, 5-6:30pm
Lecture at the Pacific Regional Office, 201 Moses Hall
Speaker: Lutz Raphael (Trier University)

Lutz Raphael explores the specificities of 100 years of German Democracy. Modern democracy develops under the double impact of revolutionary moments and everyday routines. To better understand the interplay between these two central elements in the history of German Democracy three different layers of temporality or change are taken into consideration. Firstly, four moments of revolutionary break: In 1918/19, 1945 and 1989 democratic regimes were introduced under conditions of revolution and/or societal and political breakdown, in 1933 the Weimar Republic was abolished by a Nazi take over that declared itself a "German revolution". These dramatic historical events had lasting effects on German democracy. Secondly, the lecture explores three longer-lasting eras of political "Zeitgeist" that informed the profile of German democracy: the era of imperialism and great power status (till 1945), the era of Atlantic modernity (till 1990) and recently the era of neoliberal globalism. Finally, the longue durée of deeply embedded social expectations and institutional settings is analyzed as an element of social resilience for democracy as a way of life in Germany: the democratic participation in companies and business affairs, the democratic welfare institutions and the rule of law. The lecture ends with a critical reflection on the ongoing tensions between democracy and concepts of nationality in the first 100 years of German democracy.

Raphael received his doctorate from the University of Münster. In 1996 he became Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at the University Trier. Raphael served as a member of the German Council of Science and Humanities between 2007 and 2013. He was awarded the Leibniz Prize in 2013. Since 2014, he has been a member of the Mainz-based Academy of Sciences and Literature. He has been a visiting fellow at Humboldt University Berlin, the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) in Paris, and the St Antony’s College in Oxford. During 2015/2016, Raphael was the Gerda Henkel Visiting Professor at the German Historical Institute London and the London School of Economics and Political Science.

 menghini@berkeley.edu